The Onion Bridge

Sometimes I wish photos could kind of be scratch-n-sniff. For instance you could see a beautiful photo of a beach and smell the rolling waves. the sand, the salty air.

However other times, this may not be such a good idea – as in the case of this bridge.

It was such a beautiful sight, such a beautiful bridge that I found perched in the woods, away from everything and hiding nearly in plain sight. It was a bridge that had so much grandeur, but stood alone on a quiet swamp.

The only issue? It smelled like onions and ham, a very weird scent that seemed to nearly take over everything. It wasn’t until later that I realized there were actual onions growing in the wetlands below.

Very strange indeed, but interesting in the best way.

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Being A Dad Is Weird

Being a dad is weird.

For my entire life, I really thought about what fatherhood would be like. I guess I was really just thinking about my own life, my own growth, and my own path in this world. I had never sat down to really think about what fatherhood would be like, to relive a childhood through someone else’s eyes. I guess I was too busy still being a kid myself.

My childhood is one that I think everyone aims to have. A quiet town, a best friend who lived next door, parks in every direction for me to explore. I would spend countless nights playing gameboy at my friend’s house, sitting on the picnic table, trying desperately to see the screen of my video games as I wasn’t ready to go home – eventually playing hide and sneak in the woods nearby so I could have an excuse to not go home quiet yet.

There always seemed an endless supply of summer nights, weekends to play with friends, and cool fall evenings to help rake the leaves. Even looking back now, I still can feel that feeling I had of total freedom, happiness, and bliss in the fact that I had nothing on my schedule – just a long list of games to play and movies to watch. Something that, at the time, I really took for granted. Because eventually all things come to an end – even if that just leads into something even more exciting.

I never really thought about fatherhood, just not something that ever really came into my head, mostly because I spent the majority of my time trying to figure out my career, desperately searching for a direction, a place I could find myself doing what I loved. I was so dead set on trying to find my way that I never really had any thought about what it would be like to raise someone who would, eventually, have to go through the same exact thing I was. Difficult interviews, long nights thinking about next moves, and occasionally talking to friends about their lives and where they were all going.

But eventually, things changed for the better, and little Adeline found her way into my life.

Even now I think about, as I write this deep into the evening, the clock well past midnight, what Adeline’s life will be like. It’s so strange to think about, because I know the exciting things that she will be experiencing, and the tough roads ahead that are waiting for everyone.

I think about how she will grow up in the same corner of the world I did, going to the same parks, playing in the same fields, maybe even going to the same schools. Maybe she will make the same mistakes I did when I was her age – like falling off her bike because this one hill in particular gets you too much speed, or jumping off of the swings too high which stings the ankles as you land. I wonder if she will ever get the same excitement I had when I was a kid, meeting up with friends at a local playground, playing tag into the late evening hours.

Just a few weeks ago, I went to a playground that I frequented as a kid. Sometimes after school, mostly on weekends. A playground that was the meeting point for so many childhood memories. Some fun, some scary, some just strange – like the time we spent hours in the tall grass looking for golf balls we saw a guy hit earlier in the day.

But this time, I went back there with my daughter, taking her to the same place that I grew up and made so many memories and friendships. Friendships with people I sometimes think about, where they are, what they are doing, and if they have ever been back to the same spot I was at, feeling the same way I was. It was quiet, the memory of those days seemingly fading away.

This time, I wasn’t going to meet a friend there and talk about our weekend plans, what we wanted to do at the construction site down the street, or if anyone knew how to fix a bike chain. I wasn’t there to play dangerous games on the monkey bars, and perilously climb the slides in the completely wrong way, just to see if I could. In fact, I was there to let my daughter make her own memories, her own stories in her head that she will play over and over again for the rest of her life. Because eventually she will be in my shoes too – she will be the one taking her kid to the park, watching them play while also having memories flood into her head like I was, thinking about people I never saw again after graduation.

In a way, I have come to realize that fatherhood is a lot like living your childhood all over again, you just experience it vicariously through someone else, watch them go through the same things you did, while also clearing their own parth.

Sometimes I forget how carefree childhood was, especially when I see Adeline sleeping away the afternoon, only to awake and go and play with her toys. She doesn’t have anything to worry about, no bills to pay, no schedule to even think of. She is just going around doing her own thing, doing whatever she wants to do. Something that I truly miss, something we all take for granted when we are growing up.

Truthfully, and as cliche as it sounds, all I want Adeline to do in life is things that make her happy, things that fulfill her and make her feel like she did something good. If there is any advice I could give her now, it would be to just enjoy the road ahead, and do whatever it is that will make you feel good at the end of the day.

In today’s world, just like many others, I sometimes find myself working with Adeline behind me in her playpen. Going through her books, playing with dolls, occasionally figuring out how to connect some blocks together – all while I sit and toil away with work. And all I can think about is what she will do someday, who she will be.

Will she be an astronaut? A cop? A lawyer? Who knows – even she doesn’t. But just the fact that she has so many dreams available to me makes me smile, and remember all of the twists and turns my career has taken over the years and what it’s like to be faced with the notion that you can be anything you want to be.

Sure, I have made a lot of mistakes in my life, and Adeline probably will too – we all do. She will probably take a job she hates or regrets, she’ll probably second-guess what she is going to school for, and she’ll probably be terrified when she is job-searching – a seemingly impossible task. But my entire life has all been in preparation for this, to be able to help her along the way and guide her away from the same mistakes I made, while also letting her learn on her own.

Being a father really is strange, especially when you still feel like a kid yourself. It’s realizing that, now you get to watch your own child write their own story right in front of your eyes. It’s coming to the realization that, while I am getting older, I get to see someone, and help someone navigate their own crazy life.

Enjoy the journey Adeline, it’s quite the ride.

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Swinging In The Wind

Don’t forget the sunscreen.

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Write It Down Before I Forget

This really should be some sort of piece that is a reflection of what I have been trying to get over lately – a lack of writing.

That being said, I am actually doing pretty well with that, and will hopefully have a project wrapped up by years end.

We will see!

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Welcome To Golden Hour

Golden hour never gets old.

And I will never stop loving it.

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Utah – America’s Hidden Gem

Let’s be honest, we all don’t think about Utah that much – but we probably should.

Utah, by far, has been one of the coolest states that I have every been to. From the rolling mountains in the desert, to the forests of the north, and even the difficult-to-describe beauty of the Great Salt Lake. It truly is a state that has everything for you – no matter what kind of outdoor activity you’re into.

It’s one of those places I would not mind living. It was so wild to me how everyone there just accepted the fact that you can see gorgeous mountains no matter where you look.

It truly is a gem – and you need to book your ticket now if you haven’t been there.

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The Lake Of Infinity

The water really wasn’t that blue, trust me – but the sight and sounds of it were still so soothing and relaxing.

Sometimes, I think about how nice it may be to live in another part of the country. Wake up in a place that is new, warm, and fresh. But for some reason, I always find myself loving it here at home.

The winters are tough, cold, bitter. The summers can be rainy, humid, and sweltering.

But this place will always be my home – love it or hate it.

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Something Different, Something…Real?

A while ago, I tried my hand at something new, composition. Something that, at first, I really wasn’t a fan of – and am still slightly unsure. Whether that’s because I am not the best at it, or because I don’t like highly edited photos, I don’t know.

Either way, I think this came out pretty amazing. And the waves in the sky? Tin foil. That’s right…tin foil.

If there is anything I learned from this project, it’s that, literally anything, can be used in a composition piece, just have to think.

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The Summer to Begin All Summers

Summer/photo season is finally back, y’all!

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“As The Clouds Float By.” A Look Into My Next Project

Just months ago, I released my first book, “We Always Find Ourselves Here,” and it was a thrilling experience – available here.

I am happy to announce that I am officially over halfway through the manuscript of my second piece, yet to be officially titled. An excerpt is below – enjoy!

THERE REALLY is nothing more boring than corn – no matter how you dice it up. Always the same shape, always the same color – neatly in their rows, growing as they should, producing as they are asked.

            Unfortunately for Ohio, it’s one of the only things the tiny towns thrive off of – something most people in the town can’t stand.

            Tom used to love to hide in their rows, however. Ever since he was a kid, and escaped a whooping from his father by hiding in their cover, he thought of them differently than most.

            Sure, they all look the same, neatly together, looking like a comb when you drive by them. They were something special to him, a place where he could always run away to when he couldn’t face the worries of the day – even as a kid.

            Whenever anything went wrong, a day turned sideways for whatever reason, Tom could always escape to the fields, run around, and hope to get lost. Only to eventually sit down and look up at the sky, watching the clouds go by. They were always there, watching everything going on down below, laughing, he thought.

            They also meant something to him that most people didn’t think about – his hometown.

            There was always a certain feeling about Ohio. The people, the way of life, everyone thinking it was some back country – and it some ways it was. But at the same time, it was what raised Tom, it was his hometown. And no matter where he went or who he talked to, it was always going to be what made him, him.

            No one was really talking, just listening to the music, watching the world go on beyond the windshield. The long, winding country roads before them, miles before they would finally hit a good highway that would actually they them somewhere.

            Tom thought about what everyone else was doing. People he knew forever from school, what they were doing at the same moment. Were they going off on their own trip too? Were they trying to figure out what they were going to do with their lives? Where they also on some dusty road, driving across state lines just to get some relaxation before life happened? He never knew, and the not-knowing always bothered him.

            More than anything, he knew that for the rest of his life, he would never be able to see how people’s stories ended. He would never know how they resolved their cases, figured out their paths, or anything in between.

            He’d never figure out how it ended between the couple that had been dating since middle school. He’d never know what happened to the class President after he graduated (or didn’t) from his prestigious school. For all Tom knew, he could end up being a car dealer, or he could end up being a CEO. He would never know how their books would end, their memory would forever be frozen in time at the exact moment of graduating, their lives forever sealed at that point.

            Maybe that’s why everyone get so shocked when people have aged at their reunions, he sometimes thought to himself. Because to them, their friends were sealed at that point, never aging, never growing older – our brains unable to finish their stories themselves. Like everyone expects their classmates to walk in, still being eighteen and young – aging not something that a person can truly comprehend.

            But then Tom would realize that he himself was a mystery, just as much as his classmates were. They would never know who he would become, what he could accomplish, or even who he would marry.

            To most, it wouldn’t matter – his memory fleeting away into the cornfields of the town. But to some, and even if just rarely, he would come across their mind. A memory of Tom would come floating out of nowhere, only for them to question his current existence.

            Just as much as people are mysteries to us, we are just the same to each other. No one really knows anyone else – at least not everything. Our minds can’t comprehend nothingness. And when that happens, sometimes we just make things up.

            Maybe this person is in jail, maybe this person stayed in the army – sometimes we never know, so we let out minds decide for us.

            Maybe to someone, they would eventually think “oh Tom? Yea he probably owns his own business.” Maybe they would think he became a math professor. Or maybe they even just thought he took over the farm.

            He would probably be so many different things over the years to so many different people – but he would never know, and the paradox would start all over again.

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